This morning, after I dropped off my kids at school today, I did something very important.
And you should too.
I often hear from people 'my vote doesn't matter," or they'll say 'In my district, Party A always wins and while I support Party B, they never win, so why should I vote,' or vice versa (Party B always wins, not Party A etc....)
And most of the time, yes, it does feel like your vote doesn't matter among the thousands of votes that are cast.
But I remember my very first election where I was allowed to vote. It was 1996 and I voted absentee in my home state of Hawaii since I was in college in Pennsylvania at the time. And while there was a close governor's race that year (decided by about 5,000 votes) that wasn't the race that made me realize every vote matters.
As a reporter for the college newspaper, I was sent out into the Philadelphia suburbs to cover a U.S. House race. Myself and a photographer were sent to the Democrat Joe Hoeffel's election night party while another reporter/photographer team was sent to Republican Jon Fox's election night party. (We carpooled as we had one car between the four of us.) Everyone thought that the incumbent Fox would win in a cake walk and it would be an early night and we could make our 1 a.m. deadline. Boy were we wrong.
That race ended up not being decided that night since it was too close to call as the different precincts were reporting. Everytime a new vote tally would come out the lead would switch from Fox to Hoeffel and then back to Fox and then back to Hoeffel. No one conceded to anyone that night.
So as we rushed back to our newspaper offices around 12:30 a.m., neither reporting team had a quote from their candidate and we didn't have a winner. There were about 100 votes separating the two candidates as our deadline approached.
It took about a week to get everything sorted out and when the dust finally settled Fox beat Hoeffel 120,304 votes to 120,220 votes....a difference of 84 votes.
Ever since I covered that election, I make sure that I vote. Because you never know if your vote will make the difference.